Penn State Lady Lions on the Prowl

Penn State Lady Lions on the Prowl

On March 25th, the final buzzer sounded and the Lady Lions shuffled back to their locker room knowing that their season had officially come to an end. With a 77-59 defeat to the Connecticut Huskies, any dream of the program’s first Final Four appearance since 2004 died that night in Kingston, Rhode Island. However disappointed the players or fans of this university may have been that night, it has been difficult not to look ahead to this year’s bright prospects. With 4 of its 5 starters returning (including 3 of the top 4 scorers) and only guard Zhaque Gray graduating, Penn State will look to improve on last year’s exceptional season (26-7, 13-3 Big Ten).

Junior shooting guard Maggie Lucas will only continue her development as an all around scorer and by the time her career is over she very well may threaten the Big Ten’s all time scoring mark of 2,919 points by Kelly Mazzante, also of Penn State (’01-’04). While Lucas (19.5 PPG, 41 3PT% this past season) promises to play an integral role in the Lady Lion’s success in the coming season, she is not the only key player returning. Veteran point guard Alex Bentley has long been the straw that stirs the drink for this experienced Lady Lions bunch. Using her savvy and strong leadership, the 2011-12 Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year has run the team brilliantly throughout her career. Entering her senior season, she will pair with Lucas to form the best backcourt in the Big Ten and perhaps the nation.

 width=Don’t sleep on the frontcourt either, as Nikki Greene returns to be the anchor in the middle. Fresh off a season averaging 9.8 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game, Greene got better throughout her junior campaign and enjoyed 2011-12 All-Big Ten Honorable Mention recognition. Not to mention that she will be joined by the #6 post player recruit in the country, Candice Agee. Once Agee stepped on campus this year, Penn State’s frontline immediately improved; something that should strike fear into the rest of the Big Ten going forward. Throw Mia Nickson (8.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG) into the mix and you likely have your starting lineup for the 2012-13 Penn State Lady Lions.

While making it all the way to the sweet sixteen is not an accomplishment to be taken lightly, it is something that will probably be viewed as a disappointment for this experienced Penn State bunch. With their stellar backcourt leading the way, Penn State surely has its eye on a repeat Big Ten regular season championship and a trip to New Orleans, the site of this year’s final four. Last year the Lady Lions improved significantly and made indelible progress, which has led to many prognosticators to place a lot of stock into their future. The rest of the country had better watch out. With the Superdome in New Orleans as its biggest target, the 2012-13 Lady Lions are on the prowl.